Antioxidants: What They Are & Why We Need Them

Antioxidants: What They Are & Why We Need Them
Image via Wikipedia
Image via Wikipedia

You’ve seen or heard the term antioxidant before and you feel like it’s something you should have in your food, right? Right, but you probably don’t know what antioxidants actually are and why you need them. I know that was the case for me.

To understand what antioxidants are, you must first know what a free radical is. Free radicals are naturally occurring substances in our bodies that attack the fats, protein and DNA in our cells, causing us to age quickly and can even cause diseases. Antioxidants are the compounds found in some foods that help to neutralize the free radicals in our bodies. The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables but they are also found in green tea, black tea, red wine and dark chocolate (yum!). According to experts, the presence of color indicates that there is a specific antioxidant in that food.

Now do you understand why we need them? I do! To get a healthy dose of antioxidants in your diet, try eating more of these foods.

Tomatoes
Antioxidants: Beta carotene, Vitamin C, Zeaxanthin

blueberries

Berries (Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries)
Antioxidants: Vitamin C, Anthocyanin, Quercetin

peaches

Peaches
Antioxidants: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Lutein

kool-kale

Kale
Antioxidants: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Lutein

Plum2

Plums
Antioxidants: Beta-carotene, Vitamin C, Neochlorogenic Acid, Chologenic Acid

Bell-Pepper-Vegetable

Bell Peppers
Antioxidants: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E

cantaloupe

Cantaloupe
Antioxidants: Beta-carotene, Vitamin C, Zeaxanthin

corn

Corn
Antioxidants: Vitamin C, Lutein, Zeaxanthin

Spinach_2337460b

Spinach
Antioxidants: Beta-carotene, Lutein, Zeaxanthin

sweet-cherries-beautiful-photo

Cherries
Antioxidants: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Anthocyanin, Quercitin

Sources: IFT | Food Network

About The Author

Jessica Simien, 27, is the owner of JessicaSimien.com and a public relations and media expert. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Mass Communication degree from Jackson State University and a Master of Public Relations degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. To contact her, follow her on Twitter @jessicasimien or email her at jessica@jessicasimien.com.

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